Urban Planning Needs to Address Light Pollution

Target: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Goal: Review policies on light pollution to address recent studies on the implications it might have on insect migration patters, as well as wildlife.

A recent study done by scientists in the United Kingdom suggests that light pollution might be doing more than just drowning out the stars.  Research suggests that rising levels of light pollution are affecting the away insects migrate and putting ecosystems and humans at risk.  Tell the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency to start addressing concerns over the effects of light pollution.

According to the research done in the U.K., a higher number of bugs are becoming attracted to installed, unnatural lighting.  This means that certain bug species are more attracted to urban and suburban environments with more light pollution.  When bugs change their migratory and predatory patterns, animals throughout the food chain are affected.  Humans will also feel the affects of shifting migratory patterns; the study found that a certain type of bug known to carry infectious diseases was more attracted to buildings with artificial lighting.

Other research suggests that when light is reflected off of roadways, bugs are tricked into thinking they are water surfaces and will lay their eggs there.  This, too, has the potential to drastically rattle ecosystems and affect bug populations.  Artificial lighting also affects melatonin levels in animals which can change the behavior of animals, particularly nocturnal ones accustomed to hunting or mating at night.  It is time for the United States to recognize that light pollution is something that could have massive implications on our ecosystems.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development should work with the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with a smarter design for urban planning, one that includes more efficient and less invasive technologies like LED lighting.


Dear Mr. Shaun Donovan, Director of the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development,

Urban planning is a complex task with many intervening variables.  It is important that we formulate a comprehensive design for urban spaces by taking into account human and environmental needs.  Light pollution is a problem that scientists are only beginning to understand but one that must be taken seriously nonetheless.  Recent research done in the U.K. suggests that artificial lighting is changing the way that insects and other animals behave.  As insects become more attracted to places with more artificial lighting, their migratory and predatory patterns change.  This has drastic effects on the ecosystems and food chains to which they belong.  Similarly, when bugs that are known to carry infectious diseases become more attracted to environments with unnatural lighting, humans stand to be affected.  Artificial lighting changes the amount of melatonin produced in many species of wildlife and affects their internal clocks.

Your department must work with the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure you are creating a effective response to light pollution, which is increasingly globally at a rate of 6% a year.  You must integrate the newest data available into your decision-making process and construct an urban planning model that is sustainable.  There are a few suggestions available, like incorporating more LED lighting, and more technological advancements are sure to come as the issue continues to be studied.  Please place yourself at the forefront of the sustainability movement by beginning to incorporate concerns about light pollution into your planning processes.


[Your Name Here]


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One Comment

  1. Loredana Brantsch says:

    Plese stop!

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